What’s it like to try and police millions of pieces of abusive content every day? Sudhir takes us inside Facebook, as he and his former colleagues recall how hard it was to encourage civility at a company obsessed with growth — especially when that growth was often driven by some of the most toxic behaviors.
YouTube has become the latest social media platform to suspend President Trump’s account, saying one of his videos incited violence. The move comes after similar action was taken by Facebook, Twitter, and other tech giants. What responsibility does Silicon Valley bear for last week’s Capitol Hill riot? Roger McNamee was an early investor in Facebook and an adviser to Mark Zuckerberg and now has written a damning article for Wired: “Platforms Must Pay for Their Role in the Insurrection.”
Mark Zuckerberg still thinks we’re all “dumb fucks.”
This indisputable fact was once again ground into our skulls Thursday morning when the CEO of the toxic cesspool otherwise known as Facebook waxed semi-philosophic on free speech at Georgetown University. Amidst the tired and expected Reddit-logic-bro-like ramblings, one moment stood out for its sheer audacity: Zuckerberg’s attempt to forcefully rewrite the history of his company’s founding.
And he’s clearly counting on us buying the lie.
Facebook, Zuckerberg insisted, was born out of the noblest of impulses to give “everyone a voice” in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yes, you read that correctly.
Before we get into just how extremely bullshit we know this claim to be, it’s worth reading it in its stupefying entirety.
When I was in college, our country had just gone to war in Iraq. The mood on campus was disbelief. It felt like we were acting without hearing a lot of important perspectives. The toll on soldiers, families and our national psyche was severe, and most of us felt powerless to stop it. I remember feeling that if more people had a voice to share their experiences, maybe things would have gone differently. Those early years shaped my belief that giving everyone a voice empowers the powerless and pushes society to be better over time.
Back then, I was building an early version of Facebook for my community, and I got to see my beliefs play out at smaller scale.
Got that? Zuckerberg is implying Facebook was a manifestation of his belief that giving people a voice would make the world a better place. Except we know that isn’t true.
Like, not even remotely.
Facebook’s origin story is an incredibly well documented — if messy — one, and, unfortunately for the CEO, it paints him in a rather unflattering light.
For those blissfully unaware, the development of TheFacebook followed on Zuckerberg’s creation of a “Hot or Not” clone called Facemash, which scraped Harvard students’ photos from an online directory and then asked students to rank the respective hotness of those pictured.
Contemporaneous reporting by Harvard’s student newspaper, the Crimson, laid it all out in clear detail.
“The site was created entirely by Zuckerberg over the last week in October, after a friend gave him the idea,” reads the 2003 article. “The website used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person.”
Now, Zuckerberg has repeatedly insisted that Facemash was totally separate from Facebook.
“The claim that Facemash was somehow connected to the development of Facebook… it isn’t, it wasn’t,” he told Congress in 2018.
If we are to believe that claim, which is itself dubious, then we are still left with scores of records showing that Zuckerberg made Facebook with dating services in mind.
“Like,” Business Insider reports Zuckerberg as writing to his friend Adam D’Angelo just before the launch of TheFacebook.com, “I don’t think people would sign up for the facebook thing if they knew it was for dating.”
Of his notorious decision to delay working on a competitor’s social network dubbed Harvard Connection so that he could get TheFacebook up in time?
“I’m going to fuck them,” Business Insider reports him as telling a friend.
Even Zuckerberg himself has, in the past, provided a sanitized retelling of his justification for launching Facebook that had nothing to do with the lofty claims he made today.
“Ten years ago,” CNBC reports him as telling Freakonomics Radio in 2018, “you know, I was just trying to help connect people at colleges and a few schools.”
Now, there is itself nothing wrong with launching a dating or social website. However, when that site morphs into the democracy-eating beast that is the present-day Facebook, understanding how and why that transition happened is of some pretty serious import.
Self mythologizing your company’s origin story to make yourself into a T-shirt-sporting statesman, and assuming we’re all dumb enough to lap up those lies reflects an ongoing desire on the part of Zuckerberg to bend reality to his will.
For a man with such unparalleled power over both our elections and personal information, that should bother all of us. Unless, of course, us “fucks” are too dumb to notice.
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Sacha Baron Cohen denounced tech giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. MORE TYT: https://tyt.com/trial
no no I understand that but guys what
I’m afraid of is if you take that
argument to its logical extreme all
you’re gonna do is go back to the
establishment media so you’re gonna put
in so many guardrails that we’re gonna
go back to the era of acceptable thought
The Silicon Six:
- Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook
- Larry Page: Alphabet
- Sergey Brin: Alphabel
- Sundar Pichai: Google
- Susan Wojcicki: YouTube
- Jack Dorsey: Twitter
Facebook Zuckerberg tried to portray
this whole issue as choices around free
expression that is ludicrous this is not
about limiting anyone’s free speech this
is about giving people including some of
the most reprehensible people on earth
the biggest platform in history to reach
a third of the planet freedom of speech
is not freedom of reach Mark Zuckerberg
seemed to equate regulation of companies
like his to the actions of the most
repressive societies incredible this
from one of the six people who decide
what information so much of the world
Zuka burger t’set facebook sundar pichai
at google at its parent company alphabet
Larry Page and Sergey Brin Bryn’s
ex-sister-in-law Susan Wojcicki at
YouTube and Jack Dorsey at Twitter the
silicon six all billionaires all
Americans who care more about boosting
their share price than about protecting
democracy this this is ideological
imperialism six unelected individuals in
Silicon Valley imposing their vision on
the rest of the world unaccountable to
any government and acting like their
Abarth of the reach of law it’s like
–After CNN files a bogus and fraudulent copyright claim against our YouTube channel, Facebook shuts down our video monetization, making this quite a week!